English- Reading, Writing and Spelling
“The capacity to learn is a gift; the ability to learn is a skill; the willingness to learn is a choice.” Brian Herbert
Intent- Why do we teach English?
English sits at the heart of the primary curriculum and at Downsview we value our children’s right to be literate and to enjoy literature. Children should be taught to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and be able to listen and respond when others communicate with them. Reading in particular, helps children to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Reading not only enables pupils to acquire knowledge but develops knowledge, as it helps the children to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to fully participate as a member of society and therefore we aim to equip our pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, as well as develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
Implementation- What do we teach?
Spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting:
A consistently high standard of joined up handwriting and neat presentation are promoted across the whole school, which all children and staff recognise, understand and follow. In Reception, letter formations are taught alongside phonics and once the children have learned their letter formation and sounds, joined up handwriting is encouraged. From Year 1 on wards, all classes are taught handwriting and given opportunities to practice.
We follow a structured phonics scheme- Little Wandle. In Early Years and Year 1, new phonemes are introduced for the first time, teachers will teach the letter name (s), the sound it usually makes, and the action . As children progress in their phonics learning each week will include specific teaching and modelling of the skill of blending and segmenting.
Grammar and punctuation learning opportunities are weaved into the literacy lessons, but also taught discreetly at times.
Years 2-6 In school spelling
We follow a consistent and robust 36 week Spelling scheme which teaches the rules and challenges that the English language gives us. Each week we focus on a new spelling rule and teach lessons daily which include; games, looking for patterns and practising the rule.
Years 1-6 Home learning
In year 1, the children are given one sound a week to practise in their CGP Phonics booklets. Years 2-6 send home 10 spellings each week, for children to practise outside of the school day. These spellings are sent home on a Monday and are tested the next Monday. The weekly spellings are linked to a spelling rule, which will be taught at school that week.
Writing is taught through the ‘Talk for Writing’ (T4W) approach, which gives the children the opportunity to learn quality texts off by heart so that they can internalise and embed rich language, sentence structures, use broad range of vocabulary and build upon these skills every year. This approach also helps the children to learn key story plot patterns, which makes it easier for them to generate their own stories because they know where the story is going. As a result of this approach, the children can focus on their vocabulary choices, structuring their sentences, punctuation and making sure they include essential grammar elements so that their writing makes sense. A range of fiction and non-fiction genres are taught, as well as poetry, to ensure children are aware of the features of different text types. Once children have imitated and innovated a quality text, they move to the independent application - planning and producing their own writing.
Alan Peat’s ‘exciting sentences’ are taught as a writing strategy- in our aim to meet the expectations set out in the National Curriculum. This approach equips the children with a bank of varied sentences, as well as punctuation used in context.
To develop their reading skills in Early Years, a structured phonics approach is embedded and every child receives 1:1 reading opportunities. In Year 1, daily reading sessions are held, with a focus on word reading and comprehension. From Year 2 upwards, reading is taught using a whole class teaching approach. In dedicated reading slots, the teachers use a range of strategies and sentence stems to aid comprehension and encourage reading with meaning. The sessions incorporate whole class modelling prior to the children applying these skills through partner and independent work.
The children are frequently reminded that to be a good reader, they should read each day. Therefore, in addition to the dedicated teaching of reading, opportunities for ‘reading for pleasure’ are built into the timetable and children are always encouraged to read at home.
Impact- Our expectations